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Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

by Mara Welty May 04, 2023 7 min read

 woman drinking INVIGOR8 protein shake

Protein shakes are often staples of athletes’ pre- and post-workout routines. Filled with nutrients and essential amino acids, they can provide weight loss support, energy production and muscle recovery. They’re also incredibly delicious and come in a variety of sweet and fruity flavors. So, should you drink protein shakes on non workout days or without working out at all? 

It may be tempting to drink a protein shake, even if you’re not working out regularly. Fortunately, that’s a perfectly okay thing to do. Even when we’re not working out, our bodies need protein to regulate a variety of day-to-day functions.

So, when you’re not in the mood to cook a protein-rich dinner, a protein shake is only a scoop away. And it may provide a host of benefits to support your overall health and wellness. 

Why Do Our Bodies Need Protein?

Protein is essential to a healthy diet — and a healthy body. In fact, every cell in our body contains protein. Without it, we simply wouldn’t exist. In fact, children and pregnant mothers are in particular need of muscle protein, as it can help facilitate growth and development.

Essentially, proteins are made of many, many amino acids, which are the building blocks that form and repair our bones and muscle tissue. They also play a role in: 

  • Regulating hormones and enzymes
  • Breaking down food
  • Providing our bodies with much-needed energy stores to operate normally
  • Transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
  • Supporting immune function

There are three types of amino acid makeups:

  • Essential amino acids – Essential amino acids are not naturally occurring in our bodies, meaning we must consume protein-rich foods to obtain these nutrients. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. These amino acids are found in a variety of foods, including meat, poultry and fish, as well as eggs, dairy products, soy products, quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seeds, chia seeds and spirulina. 
  • Nonessential amino acids – Nonessential amino acids are the nutrients that our bodies can produce on their own. They include alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Fortunately, we don’t need to seek out food sources rich in nonessential amino acids.
  • Conditional amino acids – A conditional amino acid is only needed when the body is experiencing an illness. Fortunately, the body can synthesize these amino acids itself in most cases. However, they may become particularly essential when the body is undergoing stress. As such, you may need to seek a supplement or food source containing arginine, cysteine, tyrosine, glutamine and glycine in these instances. These amino acids are often found in seafood and various meats, as well as nuts, leafy greens and whole grains.

How Much Protein Do We Need Daily?

The Dietary Reference Intake Report recommends that sedentary adults consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight — or, 0.36 grams per pound. For example, a 150-pound adult who spends most of their day working at their desk should have 54 grams of protein daily.

For reference, one egg contains about 6 grams of protein, while a slab of salmon will contain around 19 grams of protein. 

Naturally, the larger your body, the more protein it will need to facilitate various bodily tasks and maintain overall wellness. 

Another way to think about it is that protein should make up 10 to 35% of your total calorie intake each day. So, if your body requires 1,800 calories, you’ll want to ensure that 180 to 630 of those calories include protein. If you’re interested in drinking protein shakes, consider how many calories are in a protein shake so you can reach your caloric intake goals. 

If you do spend your free time engaging in light physical activity, you may want to increase your protein intake as it can help ease any soreness you may be feeling, strengthen your muscles and improve your physical fitness. 

If you are looking togain weight and buildmuscle mass, consider having apeanut butter andchocolate protein shake. Thehealthy fats found inpeanut butter combined with theprotein powder will help increase yourbody weight without compromising on taste. 

How Much Protein Is There in Protein Shakes?

The amount of protein in a protein shake will vary depending on the brand, serving size and protein source. 

Whey protein is the most commonly used protein in protein shakes. It’s made from milk and is fast-digesting, meaning it’s absorbed quickly into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout your body. Ameal replacement shake withwhey protein powder will not only helpbuild muscle but will also help withweight loss by filling you up. Generally whey protein shakes will contain about 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving, For example, INVIGOR8’s All-In-One Superfood Shakes contain 20 grams of 100% grass-fed whey protein per serving, which is two scoops, or 43 grams. 

Plant-based protein powders, such as soy, rice, pea and hemp protein, generally contain less protein per serving. This can range from 15 to 20 grams. 

As such, protein shakes can serve as a convenient way to increase your protein intake, especially if you follow a low-protein diet or eating lifestyle — such as veganism. And while protein shakes can act as a meal replacement, they should not be relied on as the sole protein source in your diet. Plant-based diets should still incorporate plenty of protein-rich whole foods, such as nuts, legumes and whole grains. If you have dietary restrictions, consider usingplant-based protein that contains everyessential amino acidyou need to growmuscle fiber. Replace the whole milk in a shake with water oralmond milk and throw in somenut butter to addhealthy fats andextra protein to your shake.

Additionally, the amount of protein you need in your diet will vary depending on several factors, including age, sex, weight and activity level. 

If you’re unsure of whether or not to incorporate a protein shake or protein supplement into your diet, always consult with a healthcare professional. They’ll be able to guide you through certain considerations and help you make diet changes that align with your personal needs and goals. 

Benefits of Drinking Protein Shakes

Traditionally, protein shakes are used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts pre- and post-workout. Following exercise, the body is in an “anabolic state,” meaning it’s in its building and repair mode. It breaks down tissues and replenishes depleted energy stores with, you named it, protein.

Naturally, this is when your body needs a healthy dose of essential amino acids to help repair, energize and strengthen tissues and muscles. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an athlete — or even work out — to enter an anabolic state. It’s possible to enter an anabolic state without exercising, but it can be more difficult to do so if you’re not regularly moving or doing resistance training. 

In particular, resistance training is a powerful stimulus for promoting muscle growth and increasing insulin sensitivity, which is critical to muscle recovery. However, there are several ways the body can enter an anabolic state without exercise. These include:

  • While growing in childhood, since the body has higher levels of growth hormones and testosterone
  • While recovering from an illness, as the body prioritizes tissue repair and recovery
  • After eating a protein-rich meal, which stimulates protein synthesis and, in effect, an anabolic state

Are you wondering, can I drink a protein shake before bed? Yes! Sleep is critical to muscle recovery, and getting at least eight hours of rest a night can also help your body enter an anabolic state. Therefore, drinking a protein shake at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep can be helpful for this process. 

So, with all that said, can you drink protein shakes without working out? The answer is yes. In fact, doing so may provide a number of advantages to your overall health and wellness:

  • Promote muscle recovery
  • Increase feelings of fullness to reduce appetite
  • Support weight loss
  • Boost your metabolism and burn more calories
  • Provide your body with needed energy 
  • Support lean muscle growth
  • Reduce belly fat

What To Watch For When Adding a Protein Shake To Your Day

If you’re sedentary or lightly active, it’s important to drink protein shakes in moderation. Without resistance training exercises, large quantities of protein powder can add additional calories to your day and may cause unwanted weight gain.

Additionally, some protein powders — like whey powder and casein powder — are made from milk, meaning they likely contain lactose. This enzyme may cause digestive issues in those with an intolerance. 

Too much protein in one’s diet can also lead to dehydration, kidney damage or heart problems. However, it’s very rare that one would experience these effects as a result of protein shakes. 

To ensure you’re giving your body the correct amount of nutrients, create balanced meals with plenty of fiber, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals — in addition to protein, which should be limited to 10 to 35% of your total caloric intake. If you are looking togain weight andmuscle mass, consider addingpeanut butter oralmond butter to your shake to increase your calorie intake and improvemuscle protein synthesis

If you’re adding a protein shake to supplement your nutritional intake, find a protein powder that combines a high-quality protein source with other nutrient-dense and health-supporting compounds, such as:

  • Essential fatty acid complex, like flaxseed, chia seed and coconut powder
  • Fruit and veggie complex, like bananas, berries, beets and leafy greens
  • Probiotics and prebiotics
  • Digestive enzymes

Add an INVIGOR8 Shake To Your Day

You no longer have to ask yourself, “Can I drink protein shakes without working out?” Protein shakes can be a convenient and beneficial way to increase your protein intake, but they should be used in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.

If you choose to consume protein shakes without working out, it's important to consider possible side effects. Consuming excessive amounts of protein can lead to weight gain, especially if you are not burning off the extra calories through exercise. Additionally, some people may experience digestive issues, such as bloating or gas, when consuming a milk protein shake.

For a nutrient-rich protein shake experience, look to INVIGOR8. Our All-In-One Superfoods Shake contains grass-fed whey protein and additional nutrients that support cognitive, digestive and immune health. Plus, it comes in a variety of delicious flavors, including strawberry and chocolate. Looking to add in additional protein? Try adding in ourcollagen peptides for weight lossto up your protein intake.

For incredible taste and natural ingredients, choose the INVIGOR8 protein shake.


MedlinePlus. Amino Acids.

MedlinePlus. Protein in Diet.

SCL Health. How Much Protein Is Simply Too Much?

Healthline. Do Protein Shakes Work? Muscle Gain and Weight Loss

Self. 20 Foods That Have More Protein Than an Egg

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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